PPG Industries (Pittsburgh, Pa., USA) announced on Nov. 13 that it and MAG Industrial Automation Systems (Erlanger, Ky., USA) have been selected to receive a $741,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to support the development of materials and automation processes for wind blade manufacturing. PPG and MAG aim to optimize materials technologies and develop fiberglass prepreg placement techniques to improve wind blade reliability while reducing the cost of wind blade production.
"We recognize the need for improved blade manufacturing processes in the wind energy market," said Cheryl Richards, PPG global market manager, wind energy. "The opportunity to combine advances in materials technology with the productivity of automated assembly techniques will drive positive change in the manufacturing and performance of blades."
Daniel Allman, director, MAG's composites business unit, said, "The opportunity presented by the DOE and our partnership with PPG both enable us to demonstrate technology capable of revolutionizing wind blade manufacturing. Our intent is to bring to wind blade manufacturing the same advantages of automation that we developed for aerospace composites."
The DOE grant is one of 28 new wind energy projects made possible by funding provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to the "20% Wind by 2030: Overcoming the Challenges" program. The bulk of work on this project will be completed in 2010 at facilities in North Carolina and Kentucky.